The premiere was a resounding success – for the American Le Mans Series and for Porsche. The first race on the street course in Baltimore in the US state of Maryland last year celebrated its debut in front of a record crowd of 150,000 spectators with works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) scoring a commanding victory with his teammate Bryan Sellers (USA) in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. On 1 September, the race series showcasing the fastest sports cars in the world returns to Baltimore to contest round 8 of the series.
After its successful debut in 2011, the Baltimore Grand Prix takes off for the second time. The race runs over two hours. On this weekend, the American Le Mans Series is contested alongside the Indycar series, another very popular US championship,
The 3.219 kilometre street circuit leads through the streets of Baltimore around the Convention Centre at the inner harbour. The course features twelve corners, some of which are extremely tight.
The Porsche pilots
Last year’s winners Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany) and his American teammate Bryan Sellers contest the strongly represented GT class in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Falken Tire. Sharing the cockpit of the Flying Lizard Porsche are Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA), the winners of the Lime Rock round. The second 911 of the successful customer team from California is manned by Porsche works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and team owner Seth Neiman (USA). Sascha Maassen (Germany) teams up with Bryce Miller (USA) in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Paul Miller Racing.
The most successful GT race car of the last years in the American Le Mans Series is the top model of Porsche Motorsport’s customer racing vehicles. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which won the environmental “Michelin Green X Challenge” in 2010 as the GT vehicle with the best overall efficiency, headed into the new season with extensive modifications. Since the race in Laguna Seca, the car has received a new front splitter and is fitted with an adapted rear wing.
The race in Baltimore starts on Saturday, 1 September, at 16.30 hours local time (22.30 hrs CEST) and is broadcast on the internet live on www.americanlemans.com/live. On Friday from 23.27 hours CEST, the GT qualifying is shown on www.porsche.com/alms-live.
Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “The Baltimore round is a real asset to the American Le Mans Series. At the premiere last year, 150,000 fans witnessed some great racing and a strong performance from our Porsche customer teams, crowned by Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers victory for the Falken Tire squad. Racing in a city like Baltimore with its huge catchment area is an important step on the way to bring the American Le Mans Series and its gripping racing even closer to the fans.”
Joerg Bergmeister: “The debut in Baltimore last year was a great experience. But as fascinating as city races are, they are very stressful for the teams. The time schedule is normally very tight. And if you want to be successful it’s particularly crucial to use the short practice sessions as good as you can to find the best possible set up for the track. With a race duration of just two hours and given that the GT class is so strongly represented, we’re going to see some real tough action. But we’re ready for it.”
Patrick Long: “The layout of the Baltimore circuit has changed slightly from last year. Let’s see if that helps us. After the somewhat difficult start to the season we’ve regained some of our former strength over the last few races. It would be great if we could continue this trend in Baltimore.”
Wolf Henzler: “After winning there last year, Baltimore is of course a very special race. Our chances for a top placing are definitely greater than on a conventional race track. The reason for this is that our tyres work better on the narrow street circuit and we do well in the slow corners thanks to the traction of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Now we have to turn this to our advantage.”
Marco Holzer: “I love racing on street circuits so I’m very much looking forward to my first race in Baltimore. Crowds of 150,000 must be incredible. Our car seems to suit this course, we saw that last year when the Porsche won.”